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The case for custom analytics

[MAY 29, 2002] - Custom development of analytic applications is required for a data warehouse to provide business information to users in ways that they can understand and use, suggested Clay Young, co-founder of ProClarity Corp., Boise, Idaho.

He acknowledged that his company has a vested interest in the build side of the build vs. buy debate as his company showed its platform for building analytics at The Data Warehousing Institute conference in San Diego this month.

But he backed his argument up by citing a Forrester Research report, which he said indicates that "66% of enterprise reporting solution users are dissatisfied with what they get." He said a survey of users of Business Intelligence suites by the Survey.com analyst group showed "abandonment rates are as high as 30 percent."

Young said the problem is not the quality of the data warehouse or the quality of information being retrieved from them.

"In reality this is not really an information problem," he said. "This is a decision-maker skill gap issue."

In Young's view custom analytic applications are required to help end users get exactly the information they need regarding their company's products and services with tools to help them understand exactly what it means for their specific task.

"The reason analytic applications are relevant is because they don't stop at getting the information to the decision maker's desktop," Young said. "What they try to do is help the decision maker actually use the information to make the decision by structuring an analytical process, by guiding the decision maker through a particular topical analytic experience."

If this functionality is built into existing enterprise applications that users are familiar with, it eliminates the need for extensive training, and thus bridges the skill gap, Young argued.

Building custom applications to do that is the best way to avoid end-user dissatisfaction with data warehouses and abandonment of business intelligence software, he concluded.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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